Ephesians 3: 14-21
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen
Song: “Hymn of the Holy Spirit” Pat Barrett – https://youtu.be/zGsawBBxVMY
Worship is like a lubricant for entering His presence. It moves us to the right side of the equation like Donna has taught us. Although we know that anything can be a form of worship as long as we are focused on who God is, there is something special about the musical form of Worship. Music speaks to our emotional, physical and spiritual bodies. When we say words that matter to the One who matters it opens something in us. I find when I can take time to worship the Lord it really does help me see the truth about my circumstances and bring my attitude in line with Him and what He desires for me. Take time this week to listen to “Hymn of the Holy Spirit” by Pat Barrett. Take time to meditate on the words: “Holy Spirit, lead me onward. Walking through the great unknown. Trusting, leaning, holding, clinging. Till the day You lead me home”
Lesson: Life Together
The Ephesians 3 verses posted in the “light” section above describe the inheritance that is ours if we accept our place in God’s family: strengthening power of the Holy Spirit, the gift of faith, the secure foundation of love…and more and more….until we are filled to all the fullness of God. It takes faith to believe that this is our destiny and courage to live like we believe it. Part of the faith and courage comes from other members of His family – it’s only together with all the saints that we can grasp the hugeness of His love.
The family of God stretches across time and includes all those who have believed on Christ for salvation and all those who will ever believe Him. When God chooses us for adoption into His family, we enter into life with Him and that life impacts the way we relate to everyone else. He uses this context of relationship to mature us and ultimately to transform us into His image.
As I began writing this week’s lesson, I was preparing to host some friends I’ve known almost 30 years. I began to think back over the significant relationships in my life. More than events, it is these relationships that have shaped me. The most significant relationships in my life have been those with other Christ followers. I have been encouraged and convicted by their obedience, moved to intercession by their struggles, and prompted in praise over God’s faithfulness in their lives.
Zoe (pronounced dzo’ ay) is the Greek word for life – not the physical existence of being alive but the uncreated, eternal life of God. I call this zoe life “life with a capital L”.
John 10:10b I have come that they may have life (zoe), and have it to the full.
1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life (zoe), and this life (zoe) is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life(zoe); whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life (zoe).
That is God’s original purpose for our lives. We may be tempted to approach the spiritual Life (zoe) as though it is a help for our daily physical lives instead of it being the real Life. God is not interested in us making ourselves better by our own effort. He wants His Life (zoe) to increase in us, so that as we live our physical lives it is His Life (zoe) that we are giving away (Galatians 2:20).
We nourish and cultivate this Life personally and corporately. Studying His word, abiding in prayer, and times of worship are activities that can be done as an individual and also in fellowship with other believers. Both kinds of activities are essential if we are going to experience Life. Life in the spirit is like climbing steps versus climbing over hills and valleys – it does not ebb and flow. It is an ever increasing Life that is not diminished by hardship, trouble or suffering. God Life is powered by His love and directed by His Spirit.
When we individually are living Zoe and we gather with others who are living Zoe, then this is “together Life.” This kind of living is how Acts 2:42-47 becomes a reality in our communities to the Glory of God our Father
Read Ephesians 3:14-21. Write down the benefits of being in Christ in your own words and take time to respond to the Father.
Read Ephesians 4:11-16 and underline any form of the words “grow”, “build”, “mature.”
Think back through the most significant relationships in your life? How has God used these relationships to grow you and transform you?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in his book Life Together:
How does this confirm or adjust any of your relationships today?
Read Acts 2:42-47 and consider how your community acitvities line up with these verses.
Read 2 Thessalonians 1:3 and pray for the faith and love in your community to increase more and more.
Word study, Resources, Tools:
Studying words in the original Greek (New Testament) or Hebrew (Old Testament) can lead us to new applications of familiar words. 2 words we used in this week’s lesson are ZOE (dzo-ay) and KOINONIA (koy-nohn-ee’-ah).
Reading the same passage in various translations is another way to increase your understanding of the Word. Read 1 Peter from The Message below and then in any other translation you have. Write down your thoughts or write a prayer response to God.
1 Peter 1 (The Message)
God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours! What a God we have! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust and rely on him—with laughter and singing. …So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t get lazy, doing just what you feel like doing. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood… It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you fully trust God. Your new life is not like your old life. Your new birth comes from God’s living Word – a life conceived by God himself! Yes, This is the Word that conceived the new life in you. This is the eternal word that nourishes it now and forever.
Make a list of members of one of your communities (i.e. schoolmates, home group, work team, close friends). Spend time this week praying for each by name and listening for any words of encouragement God would have you share with them. Take action and watch for zoe-LIFE to break through.